with Thozama Mqikela
The following morning I went to Chicken Licken at Rivonia Road as instructed. I knew how much Mthobisi loved hot wings and rolls. Would I even be allowed in with them? I then went to Morning Side Centre and went to the Pick n Pay there and looked for a cheap phone, luckly they had a small Nokia phone for R249 bought him that and a pack of cigarettes. As far as I knew Mthobisi didn’t smoke but what did I know about this man anyway, nothing surprised me anymore. I went to the car and got the wings out, I realised that getting wings was not a smart idea, how was I gonna hide the phone in them? I had to quickly go to the ATM and draw R5000 then drove straight to Hillbrow, I took Grayston Drive, then freeway all the way till Joe Slovo and off-ramped. There was the JMPD, as usual after the Joe Slovo Offramp, these cops sometimes just overdo their job and are not even creative. Change corners to be more effective because we all know where you are and have known for years! I was so glad I was wearing a seatbelt as I was in no mood for a bribe or ticket. They stopped me anyway, if you are driving a VW, Golf or Polo you will most definetly be the victim of the Metro Police. It does not take a genius to see why criminals are now stealing the high end cars. The metros pointed them straight to them. An officer came and asked for my licence, checked the car licence disk and asked if I knew that my disk had expired I told him it was my husband’s car and he was out of town so I was just using his car for the day. Shit why hadn’t Mthobisi renewed his licence disk, now I had to put on my biggest fake smile and turn on the charm, this was the only way shit works in Jozi, he told me he was gonna have to write me a ticket and an expired disk is a R1000, was this man for real? I decided to try the bribe thing, before I could even suggest it he said if I bought him a coldrink he would be willing to forget the incident of the expired disk, I took out a R50 and gave it to him! e actually let me go, I was relieved, R50 is better than R1000 fine, I know it’s wrong but hey, I didn’t even know about the expired disk.
I got to Hillbrow Police Station and could not find parking I had to drive around the block 3 times, eventually I found a parking and then a group of guys came and stood next to my car telling me how nice my car was one of them even had the odesity to ask if he could test drive it. I said it was my husband’s car and he was a cop waiting for me inside, as soon as they heard cop they stepped away. I went in, I didn’t even know which way to go, I have driven past this Police Station before but never before had I set foot on it and I never thought I would. It was not bad looking the building was actually good looking, I expected it to look shady and doggy it was in Hillbrow afterall, I saw a few cops in uniform, I approached one who was walking alone, I didn’t want to have to explain myself to a crowd, and asked him where the Visitors needed to go, he told me to go inside and go through the door next to the counter, I got inside the Police station there were cops siting behind a counter and writing statements and affidavits and some were stamping copies of id’s. I went through the door and there were a few people going through as we got inside, there was a Police Woman who told us to write our names, surnames, id number and the name and surname of the person you visiting, we all filled in the book and passed it on. It was 15 minutes before visiting time, she then told us that those who brought food must forget about giving it to the “prisoners” because the state provided all of them with food and there was not going to be any special treatments so we can take back our fancy food, this woman was mean she didn’t care who you were she was just not gonna take shit from anyone. I let her finished talking and called her to the side and told her my husband has allergies and there are a few things that he does not eat. The bitch looked at me from top to bottom and told me just because I wear expensive clothes and probably a big shot were I worked it didn’t mean I could come here and disrespect her job, if my husband had special dietary requirements then he shouldn’t have done the crime, here everybody eats the same shit! Damn I had been cut down to size, by this overweight thing who probably wouldn’t even be able to catch me even if I was walking and she running, but I decided to leave my coconut tendencies behind, I was in the ghetto and when in Rome your ass best be Roman. At 14:00 exactly she started calling out names, she called 3 people at a time, there were about 6 people before me, eventually it was my turn, I was looking forward to seeing my husband so he could explain all this drama. In front of me there was 2 girls in their early 20’s I overhead them talking about their friend whom was always fighting and they were here to see the friend because the friend beat-up a guy and broke 2 of his front teeth, I was finding this to be a bit funny but I didn’t let them see me laughing. Eventually our names were called and me and these girls and an old lady behind me went in. What I had seen on tv about prisons was a lie, first of all you walk into a small room and you are separated by a window that has 9 small holes in it, you have to speak through these holes, now there is 3 of them sitting across us and we don’t know each other and we all have to scream through this window what we want say, to my surprise the person these girls were visiting was a girl I was sure it was a man, what are girls turning into, going around beating-up guys and this girl looked soo prim and proper if you bumped into her on the streets you would never think she is a rough ghetto-chick. Mthobisi asked if I brought him his stuff, I told him what the female officer had said about no food allowed, he couldn’t hear me and told me to go out at the first entrance there is a gate and I should go to that gate there will be an old cop there by the name of Simelane, I couldn’t hear the rest of the statement that he said and I got tired of asking him to repeat himself, big mama cop came and told us our time was up, this was hardly 10 minutes that we had spent here but I knew better so I didn’t argue, I left the building and went to the first entrance, this is the entrance that they use to bring in the prisoners, I figured that when I saw Police van driving in and the gate being opened and then getting locked again, I watched as people got off the van and where sent inside, there was an old man who kept opening and closing this gate, I called out to him and asked if he was Simelane he said yes, I told him my husband had sent me to him, he asked who my husband was I told him Mthobisi, he told me to hand over the food, and to put the money in the plastic bag that the food was on Mthobisi had already told him about me, he told me there was a camera there and I should move to the corner of the gate because the camera didn’t cover that angle. I did as I was told I gave him the food, I had put the phone inside the wings, he opened the box and saw the phone as it was not well hidden, I mean how do you hide a phone in chicken wings, it was still in it’s plastic bag, when the old cop saw the phone he told me that this was not part of the deal and we were going get him in trouble. I begged him to please take it, after some time he took them and told me that this was going to cost Mthobisi, he took the stuff and walked away. I had so many questions! Who was WE?
I was relived though that I had done my part. I walked to the car and the cop I had earlier asked for directions came running to me and asked if I had managed to see the person I was looking for I said yes and I thank him, he asked for my numbers, typical man, he does you a small stupid favour and you have to thank him with your numbers, I showed him my ring and walked away. I drove back to work, on my way back my phone rang it was Mark, Mthobisi’s lawyer he told me he had been to see Mthobisi this morning and that he had been in court all day so couldn’t call me, he told me that Mthobisi would be appearing in court tomorrow, but things didn’t look to good for him. I needed to prepare myself for the worst.
My life was about to become a nightmare!
I have been married for two years now. I got pregnant in matric and our parents forced us to get married to avoid bringing shame to our families. Our baby died at two month. My father is a pastor and his father is an elder in the church. We are both not happy in the marriage but we live in a village community so have nowhere else to go. Is there anything you can advise us to do. Our parents are both very infuential and feared here in the church.